Nov
20
2009
5

When was Jesus born?

Detail from a stained glass window in Fabrica Art Gallery, Brighton, East Sussex. Photo by Dominic. CC-BY.Although much of the world celebrates Christmas on Dec. 25 as the supposed birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, and our calendar is based on the assumption that year-counting began the year of his birth, the chances that he was born on Dec. 25, 1 BC (there was no year 0), are extremely remote. Christmas is [more…]

Nov
05
2009
--

Will life as we know it end in 2012?

clocksDire predictions of worldwide calamity in 2012 may be a good way of selling books and movie tickets — but the chances anything remotely like the dire predictions will happen is about the same as that they happened in 1982, 1988 or 2000, other recent dates for which the end of the world or something [more…]

Written by | 5,783 views | Tags: , , , , , , , | 0 Comments
May
30
2009
--

Why are there seven days in a week?

Nighttime sky.Nobody knows for certain, but chances are that our seven-day week is historically connected with the fact that the Babylonians and other early astronomers recognized seven celestial bodies that weren’t in fixed positions like the stars — the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. In fact, in English the names of three [more…]

Written by | 9,834 views | Tags: , , , | 0 Comments
Apr
17
2009
--

What is the date of Easter in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013…

Photo by Michiel Thomas - CC-BYThe date of Easter varies each year. Roughly speaking, it’s the Sunday after the full moon after the vernal equinox, but it’s a bit more complicated than that (see: How is the date of Easter calculated?). Here are all the dates of Easter Sunday for this century: 23 April 2000, 15 April 2001, 31 March [more…]

Written by | 17,119 views | Tags: , , | 0 Comments
Apr
12
2009
--

How is the date of Easter calculated?

Easter Eggs (photo by Matthew Hale - CC-BY)The date of Easter varies from year to year, and the process of calculating it is known as computus. Colloquially the rule is sometimes stated as “Easter Sunday is the Sunday following the full moon after the Vernal (Spring) Equinox”, but there are some subtle inaccuracies in this definition. The date of the Spring Equinox [more…]

Written by | 2,411 views | Tags: , , , , | 0 Comments
Feb
27
2009
2

What traditions belong to Mothering Sunday?

Primroses for Mother's Day?      Photo by ndrwfgg - CC-BYOnce UK shops have cleared out their Valentines, they stock up with Mother’s Day cards. In amongst them will be a few that wish you a Happy Mothering Sunday. It’s the Sunday about half way between Pancake Day (Mardi Gras) and Easter, and has been a day for recognising English mothers for several centuries. If [more…]

Jan
21
2009
--

Where do the names of the months come from?

A modern interpretation of JanusAlthough there have been significant changes, the calendar as we know it dates to the Roman times. So it shouldn’t be surprising that many of the names of the months have names similar to what the Romans used. January is named after Janus. Appropriately for the first month of the year, Janus was Roman god [more…]

Written by | 5,035 views | Tags: , , , | 0 Comments

Privacy Policy | Acknowledgements